advice, Germany

Adventures in ID cards…

Thanks to my lifelong affiliation with members of the United States military, I have had an I.D. card for most of my life.  From the age of ten until I was 23, I had one because I was an Air Force brat.  From the age of 30 until now, I’ve had one because I am the wife of a now retired Army officer.  I have a lot of experience with getting military I.D. cards.  I must say, this morning’s experience getting  a new I.D. was truly enjoyable.  I genuinely can’t say that about 99% of my other I.D. card experiences.

This is the fourth time I’ve had an I.D. made in Stuttgart.  When I think back over my life, I know I’ve had four I.D.s made at the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia, because that was the closest location to where I lived when I was coming of age.  I remember it was an ordeal to get the I.D., since my dad had to come with me.  One time, my mom took me by herself and we had to come back later because they wouldn’t make an I.D. without the sponsor present (unless he was dead).  I don’t know if that’s still the rule, but it was in the 80s.  Going anywhere with my dad was generally painful because he liked listening to Muzak and singing along.

When I got married at age 30, Bill took me to the Pentagon, where I was shocked to find out all my info was still in the “system”.  I also remember the super skinny lady who made my I.D. reading all of my stats out loud, including my weight, which was almost surely inaccurate, but still more than I wanted to admit to publicly.  That was pretty unpleasant, since she basically announced it to everyone in the office at the time.

The next time I got an I.D. was in Stuttgart, then I got one at Fort Bragg, where the I.D. office was in the old hospital.  I had one made at Fort Sam Houston in 2014, which was a horrible ordeal that took all morning because Bill was retiring from active duty as a full time member of the National Guard.  The computer wanted to give us red I.D.s instead of a blue one for him and a tan one for me.  They kicked us out of Tricare, too.  That didn’t get fixed until a few weeks later, after we had already moved to Stuttgart.  I got another I.D. made here, again shocked when all of my stats from Bill’s Army tour here from 07-09 were in the system.  I remember the lady who made it then told me that she didn’t think my hair was red anymore, which it’s definitely not.  Then we had to turn the I.D. back in a few months later because Bill’s contract changed.

I had to get a new I.D. card today because Bill is working for a new company as of last week.  Given all the other times I’ve gotten an I.D., I can’t say I was looking forward to it.  But today’s experience was downright fun.

First, Bill and I went to get a new I.D. made for me.  I think we may have been among the first people to visit the I.D. office.  While we waited for the very slow system to update, I cracked jokes about Suzanne Somers with the very pleasant guy who took my photo (and he managed to get a fairly decent picture of me, too).  We also bonded a bit over M.C. Hammer…

I was joking about how I used to have reddish blonde hair, but now it’s turned very blonde… a la Suzanne Somers circa 1991.


Then somehow we ended up joking about M.C. Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit”…  Damn, I’m old!


After I got my new I.D., we visited the passport office, where I got a new SOFA card.  They were kind enough to take care of us, even though we didn’t have an appointment (thanks to the automated system being down).  The guy who looked after me there was hilarious as he and Bill chatted about drill instructors.  I noticed all the signs on the walls, including one instructing people to sign in even if they just have a question.  I can only guess that’s because a quick question often turns into something a lot more complicated.  After a few minutes, my card was ready and we headed down to the next office to update my info in the system.

Bill and I walked into the room and the first thing we heard was, “Hey! It’s the Traveling Overeducated Housewife!”  Once again, thanks to all my pictures of Bill on this blog, we got recognized!  And once again, we were taken care of quickly and professionally by very friendly staffers!

I bonded with the ladies in the last office over the 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast, which was playing on the TV.  I told them about my former college suitemate who was obsessed with that movie, which was fairly new when I was in college.  She’d sit there in her sweatpants eating tortilla chips covered in cheese and salsa, watching that movie over and over again and trying to sing along with the songs.  Unfortunately, she was tone deaf, which made listening to her rather torturous for me.  I happen to have perfect pitch.  This particular suitemate also used to sing along to any and all commercial jingles, which made it hell whenever there was an ad for Mentos.

I don’t know if everyone was so chipper because today is Friday, but I truly had a good experience this morning.  And although I won’t be sharing this post with the masses in the local Facebook groups, I figure enough folks read this blog regularly that it’s worthwhile to give them a positive shoutout.  So… if any of you folks working in the I.D. and passport offices happen to read this, please accept my genuine thanks for being so pleasant, efficient, and funny today!  You’re all a credit to your jobs!


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